30 January 2010

Faith- The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

My dog just got back from the vet after needing Heartworm treatment. This is extremely expensive, but worth every dime. My biggest financial supporter was directed, BY GOD, to go another direction and give the finances elsewhere. My camper is in need of repairs and finding parts are next to impossible. My truck needs breaks, transmission service and an oil change. My car insurance is due in a few weeks and finances have been anywhere but where they need to be, and now God is calling me to go to Haiti for a couple weeks. Why do I mention this? Not to complain, I assure you. I couldn't be happier or more blessed. God always makes a way he always supplies my needs.

The reason that I mention this is because if I am going to be honest about faith I need to share the good, along the bad and the ugly. The truth is that just because I have faith and just because I believe God wants the best for me does not mean that it will be all smooth sailing. Walking by faith is not a guarantee that nothing will go wrong. It means the exact opposite, otherwise, what would I have to stand in faith for? Look at Paul in 2 Cor 11:22-28:
 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I. Are they ministers of Christ? ––I speak as a fool––I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness–– besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches
Not many would argue against whether or not Paul had faith. He spent a good amount of time talking about faith. He wrote about some of the faith giants in Romans. Many say he wrote Hebrews, which is where you find the Hall of Faith in Heb. 11. Yet Paul, as he went through life, went through struggle as well. He had things that he had to be in faith for. Why did he struggle? Because God had a problem with Paul? No! The answer is in John 10:10:
"The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly."
We have an enemy. This enemy will do whatever he can to stop the work of God in your life. I would venture to say that if your not experiencing struggles, your not a threat to the enemy, the devil. Struggles are a part of our Christian life, they are a part of our walk with God. God's best for you is not to suffer, but struggles equal growth, which equals spiritual maturity, which equals victory over the enemy.

After all the struggles Paul went through he said he had learned something. He learned how to continue on the path God had him on regardless of what he came up against. Phil 4:11-13:
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
Not only did Paul learn how to survive through these struggles, but he also knew how to go to the next level in the midst of all this struggle. Phil 4:4:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!
That's a bold statement coming from a guy who talked about all his struggles in 2Cor 11. Also keep in mind that when Paul wrote Philippians he was in a prison where he hung by chains for most of the day. Scholars say he was knee to waist deep in human waist while hanging in shackles. And when he was let down for a short time, Philippians is what he wrote.

 I made a commitment in an earlier blog about being more active on my blog and to be myself. I go through phases of isolation, doubt, unbelief, and struggle. I have been hesitant to share my times of struggle with fear that people would get the wrong idea about who God is. Like most Christians, I want to tell everyone about the good so it makes God more appealing to others. I want people to see God for what He is, a good and loving God. The funny thing is, God doesn't need me to make Him look good. He can handle His own PR. He is more than capable of making Himself look good. He needs me to be open and honest about life. He needs me to help others find a real and true path with Him, a path that includes great times, as well as some struggles.

God is God, and I am not! Great words to live by. When struggle comes it is not my place to question God, but instead, to trust Him for the answer out of the struggle. I know this phase I am in is only a phase and standing in faith means, like Paul, I too can praise Him, even in the difficult times. I too can know without a doubt that God loves me and will see me through the good, the bad, and the ugly. Faith is putting your faith in God above your faith in what you see. Be bold today, trust God!

Have you ever been mad at God? Have you ever blamed God for a situation in life only to later find out is was all on you?

Right Side Up Ministries is going to Haiti to help others through a pretty intense struggle. If you would like to help us go to Haiti please click the "DONATE" button to the right, or visit the RSUM website for more info.

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